Arranging Funerals in Scotland

For information about the laws surrounding dead bodies see the separate page.

In Scotland, a death must be registered within 8 days – and this must be done before burial or cremation.

The Scottish Government plans to introduce a legal hierarchy of who can arrange a funeral, unless the deceased person has made an ‘arrangements on death declaration’. This has not yet come into force. (January 2018).

The person who is arranging the funeral can do as much or as little as they want. People usually want to take into account any wishes left by the deceased, but there is no legal need to do this. The aspect of someone’s Will relating to their funeral wishes is not legally binding.

There are no laws about transporting, treatment or storing a body.

You do not need to hold a formal funeral/ service or use a funeral director unless you want to.

You do not need to take responsibility for arranging any funeral, even of your next of kin, if you cannot afford to do so – but if you do, you will be responsible for it being paid.

Local authorities have a duty to arrange a funeral if no-one else is able to. They will recover the costs from the deceased’s estate if money is later available.

You can find information on arranging funerals in the Good Funeral Guide book (Available from many libraries)  Good Funeral Guide or Final Fling.